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37 mm Gun M3 file photo [20842]

37 mm Gun M3 Anti-Tank Gun

Country of OriginUnited States
TypeAnti-Tank Gun
Caliber37.000 mm
Length3.920 m
Barrel Length2.100 m
Weight413.680 kg
Ammunition Weight1.50 kg
Rate of Fire25 rounds/min
Range6.900 km
Muzzle Velocity884 m/s


ww2dbaseThe T10 gun (designed by the Watervliet Arsenal in New York, United States between Jan 1937 and late 1938) and the T5 carriage (designed by the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois, United States) were mated in Dec 1938 to form the 37 mm Gun M3 and Carriage M4. When these new Jeep-towed artillery pieces entered service in 1940, they became the US Army's first purpose-built anti-tank guns. Production lasted from 1940 to 1943, during which time 18,702 examples were built. Early in the war, US Army infantry, airborne, mountain, and armored divisions operated them in large numbers. US Marine Corps units also received significant quantities of these guns. In US service, they were generally towed by Jeeps, 3/4-ton trucks, and M2 halftracks. 1,669 of the 18,702 examples built were exported to the Nationalist Chinese forces under the Lend-Lease program; smaller numbers were exported to Britain, France, Soviet Union, and others. They first saw combat during the Japanese invasion of the Philippine Islands in Dec 1941, and played an important role in the Guadalcanal Campaign in 1942. While 37 mm Gun M3 remained effective anti-tank weapons throughout the entire war against the Japanese, which mainly operated lightly-armored tanks and tankettes, in the European War they were made obsolete by the advancement of German tanks by 1943; as the result, they were gradually replaced by the British-developed 57 mm Gun M1 (British designation: Ordnance QF 6-pounder), with the replaced 37 mm Gun M3 pieces reassigned to the Pacific war area. 37 mm Gun M3 pieces were also developed into self-propelled guns, Jeep- or truck-mounted guns, and tank-mounted guns. In rare occasions they were also mounted on small naval vessels, one famous example being future US President John F. Kennedy's motor torpedo boat PT-109.

Source: Wikipedia ww2dbase

Last Major Revision: Jun 2014

37 mm Gun M3 Anti-Tank Gun Interactive Map


37 mm Gun M3 being towed by a truck, circa 194137 mm Gun M3 in service with the Philippine Scouts, Fort William McKinley near Manila, Philippine Islands, circa 1941
See all 34 photographs of 37 mm Gun M3 Anti-Tank Gun

37 mm Gun M3 Timeline

15 Dec 1938 The combination of The T10 gun and T5 carriage was officially adopted as the 37 mm Gun M3 and Carriage M4.
5 Mar 1942 A change to include a threaded barrel end to accept a big five-port muzzle brake was introduced to the 37 mm Gun M3 anti-tank gun design; the new designation of M3A1 was assigned. The muzzle brakes would be removed when M3A1 guns were deployed to combat areas, however.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Dave says:
2 Mar 2014 02:21:27 PM

Hi Peter, I was just reading about the 37mm anti-tank gun, a personal favorite because a guy I knew towed one ashore at Normandy and on through Europe. Anyway, from what I have learned elsewhere, most of the 37mm guns used on PT boats were the Oldsmobile-made aircraft cannon used in the Bell P-39 Aircobra, a completely different gun of the same caliber. They have a distinctive arched ammo magazine over the top of the gun.
2. Dave says:
5 Jun 2014 09:59:14 AM

Most or all of the PT-boat mounted 37mm cannons were the Oldsmobile-built aircraft cannon used in the Bell P-39 Aircobra fighter plane. This is a completely different weapon of the same caliber, with a unique arched magazine over the top. The arch made it fit into the nose of the fighter plane.
3. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
17 Jun 2014 01:10:34 AM

In 1941 the gun was redesignated M3A1 when the muzzles were threaded to accept a muzzle brake that was rarely, if ever, used
4. Michael says:
11 Apr 2022 08:53:45 PM

Is there information out there on the M3 37mm AT guns where a fella might look up the serial number to see which branch of service might have received a particular gun?

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37 mm Gun M3 Anti-Tank Gun Photo Gallery
37 mm Gun M3 being towed by a truck, circa 194137 mm Gun M3 in service with the Philippine Scouts, Fort William McKinley near Manila, Philippine Islands, circa 1941
See all 34 photographs of 37 mm Gun M3 Anti-Tank Gun

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